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volvo s80 - a fine car to savour

By Bruce Fraser | Oct 07, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A LOT has been written recently about politicians and their penchant for fancy (read expensive) motor vehicles.

A LOT has been written recently about politicians and their penchant for fancy (read expensive) motor vehicles.

While most people are concerned about their taxi money to work each day - if they are lucky enough to have a job - the politicians' major concern appears to be whether or not they should have imported Italian nappa leather for their car seats, or go with the standard issue!

A compromise solution - and one which would keep the majority of people happy - could well be the new second-generation Volvo S80.

Volvo may not roll off the tongue of the money brigade as easily as one of the major German manufacturers, but the S80 will definitely get people talking.

You see, for under R1million a politician (or anyone else) can buy two S80s - one for Cape Town and one for Pretoria - and still have the comfort they so obviously desire.

The S80 is the largest in the Volvo sedan range and manages to blend good looks, advanced technology and impeccable safety features in a package that is attractively priced.

Three versions are on offer: a2,5-litre turbo petrol (R421200); D5 diesel (R461800); and a 3,0-litre turbo petrol (R545000).

At the launch last week in the lovely surrounds of Muldersdrift, we had on offer the 2,5-litre and the D5. First unveiled at the recent Geneva Motor Show, the S80 looks even better close-up than its publicity photographs.

The diesel version has that distinctive sound, whereas the petrol model was eerily quite. Performance on both was impressive.

The automatic gearbox swiftly selects the correct gear and propels you forward in a refined manner.

The twisty route we drove was a good test for the S80 and it passed with an A+. Cornering was effortless and the car holds its line perfectly as you negotiate the bends.

Now when it comes to safety, the Swedes - who make Volvos - know a thing or two and the S80 clearly illustrates this.

They believe in preventive as well as proactive safety. Just like the XC60, launched earlier this year, the S80 comes with BLIS, (Blind Spot Information System) which spots another vehicle in the blind spot and issues a visual danger signal.

Another feature, IDIS (Intelligent Driver Information System) delays incoming calls or SMSes when sensing the car is in a dangerous driving situation. Handy features indeed.

Volvo say their aim is to have zero fatalities by the year 2020.

Whether that is wishful thinking or promotion-speak, I don't know. But if it's true, it's a pity Volvo doesn't make minibus taxis.


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